Sunday, February 18, 2018
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Mounts Rebound to Defeat Cocalico


The final swing belonged to Katie Witwer and with the pace she put on the ball, she did not want to see the ball back on her side of the net.

 
Before the ball hit the floor, everyone in the Ephrata gym knew the match was over because the ball caromed off a Cocalico player and headed high toward the ceiling and toward the top of the bleachers.
 
That ball was not going to be returned.
 
Witwer's point completed a third-game comeback that gave the Mounts a 3-0 (25-19, 25-15, 25-21) victory over the Eagles and their first win of the season.
 
The victory was that much sweeter since Ephrata was coming off a season-opening loss to Manheim Central.
 
"We knew we had to come out with fire," said Witwer, a junior outside hitter who led the Mounts with 12 kills. "I thought we did that."
 
The match's first set was tied at 15-15 but from there, Ephrata's offense started to click. The Mounts (1-1) scored seven of the next nine points, three on Witwer swings, to push their lead to 22-17. Morgan Lehman finished off the game for the Mounts with a kill.
 
Ephrata built on its first-set win by taking the second set. That brought a challenge from Cocalico coach Jere Kimmich to his team.
 
"I asked them if they thought we were 10 points worse than Ephrata is," he said. "That's usually not us."
 
The Eagles (0-1) took the challenge and pushed out to a 10-5 third-set lead. Brooke Beiler had a pair of kills during the run for the Eagles and teammate Dana Shugarts (team-high eight kills, two blocks) had a kill and a block during the strong start.
 
Cocalico hung on to the lead but it started slipping as the score creeped into the late teens. The Eagles got a kill from Beiler to take a 19-16 lead but the Mounts took over from there, scoring the next seven straight points to take a 23-19 lead. Ephrata got two kills from Julia Witmer during the run.
 
The Eagles had a great chance to cut that Ephrata run in half when Gina Glass had a great dig on a Witmer spike but Ephrata won the point on a battle at the net to keep the run alive.
 
"At practice Wednesday, we talked about heart," said Mounts coach Melissa Witmer, who picked up her first win as Ephrata's coach. "After losing to Manheim Central, we needed to play hard all the time, even when we're down by 10 points."
 
The Mounts got a strong game from their setter, Nicole Saylor, who spread the ball to different hitters and served well.
 
"We gave Ephrata a lot of free balls that enabled them to stay in system," Kimmich said. "We tried to work the corners against them but sometimes it's hard to control those things.
 
"I give Ephrata a lot of credit for bouncing back after losing to Central on Tuesday. They played well."